Every human being is born with an inner longing to be united with our heavenly Father. This is called a “father hunger,” which exists at the deepest part of our human soul – the heart. To a child’s heart, their earthly, biological father is the most real and accurate representation of the only one who can fill this God-shaped void within them.
Questions That Only Our Father Can Answer
The enormous array of life messages that our subconscious mind interprets cause our hearts to unknowingly answer these three foundational questions:
- Identity – “Who am I?”
- Significance – “Am I acceptable?”
- Worth – “Am I enough?”
Through childhood, whether our birth fathers are present or absent, Christian or atheist, loving or rejecting, aware or oblivious, they still communicate clear, indelible, life-altering answers to these profound questions within us.
A man who, for example, got the child’s mother pregnant in a one-night stand, still communicated succinct answers to the questions in the child’s soul. His glaring absence communicated to his child: “You’re a mistake.” “You’re an accident.” “I don’t accept you.” “You’re not important enough for me to want to be your father.”
Whether a child was raised without any father figure at all, or if a stepfather, foster father, or grandfather took the place of his father, his soul will always experience an incessant longing to be loved, accepted, and approved of by his biological father. Until this yearning is quenched by the unconditional love of his heavenly Father, this adult-child will continue on his quest for his father’s validation, even after the father is deceased.
Fantasy Bond with Father
The more painful the experience of abandonment (and re-abandonment), the more idealized the child’s view of his would-be father becomes. This is called a “fantasy bond,” which is a perfect illustration of the Equal and Opposite Principle we learned about in an earlier chapter.
Somewhat regrettably, I can still recall this from my own childhood. My parents divorced when I was just seven years old. In today’s world that doesn’t seem like such a huge thing. But in 1968, it was earth-shattering – and little-boy-shattering as well.
My dad moved away to another town (with another woman who became my stepmom) without telling me why he was leaving, where he was going, and what my future was going to look like without him.
Even as I’m writing this, I can still feel the sadness, loneliness, and longing for my dad. He made bad decisions. He divorced my mom. He abandoned my family. He left me to grow up in near-poverty without him. He missed every meaningful part of my growing-up years. But through all of that, he was somehow still my hero, and the one I longed to love me, accept me, and approve of me. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of time, effort, creativity, and energy I put into all types of “performing,” all with the hope of somehow bringing my dad’s love back to my heart. In some strange way, that quest continues even today, even though my dad has been deceased for several years.
As I experienced puberty and entered adolescence with the unresolved fantasy that my dad would someday “un-abandon” me, I unknowingly created a pattern of acting out in my relationship with my mom. In my mind I knew that she was the one who never left me, and continued to raise me, clothe me, feed me, and support me. Yet somewhere in my unawareness, my feelings toward her devolved to the point that, when I was in high school, I didn’t really like to be with her. In my conscious mind, I very much loved her and appreciated her and respected her. But somewhere within me, I resented her and felt like she had stood between me and my dad.
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